One weekend, several hundred visitors, and Europe at the centre of everything - these are the cornerstones of the EuropaCamps organised by the Zeit Foundation, for which we have had the exciting task of enhancing the programme with interactive workshops for several years now. At the EuropaCamp, people from the most diverse backgrounds and age groups come together - ranging from retired ambassadors to experts on EU policy to sixteen-year-olds who want to learn more about the EU. The mix is colourful, just like our society. This is precisely the challenge: how do you get such a range of people to discuss issues together on an equal footing? And how do you make sure that everyone is having fun, and no-one is overwhelmed or underchallenged?
We seem to be managing quite well - at least the workshops are popular and the discussions very lively. A key aspect here is our favourite exercise, the political simulation game. Using precise role-playing materials, we take all participants to the level of knowledge they need for the simulation game and then let them make decisions themselves. This is not only fun, but also gives our participants the chance to represent very different interests and to dive deeper into the political discourse. But other formats are also used: from pub quizzes to situation rooms to the new "red thread method" on the common and parallel history/histories of the EU and Ukraine.
The second part of our concept is citizen participation. Everyone has an opinion, even if it still needs to be discovered, learned about, or nurtured. The best way to do this is to take a few playfully imparted titbits of knowledge as a basis and then engage in conversation with other people about what should change. This explains the basic formula behind our participatory discussion formats, in which a wide variety of people work together to develop demands, ideas and controversial propositions on a predefined topic. Whether it's about Europe's role in the world or about climate policy - everyone can make a valuable contribution to the discussion.
2023 we were there again. A new feature and premiere this time: an interactive panel designed by us, in which we brought participants and panel guests into conversation at eye level and with each other. The topic: Climate neutral by 2050 - can we achieve it? For this purpose, we placed the visitors in small circles of chairs on the stage and first brought them into conversation with each other. After a short introduction of the panel guests, the participants had enough time in the circles to talk to each other about what they had just heard and to think about questions and comments. The best thing was that the speakers went from round to round during this phase and spoke directly with the visitors. The feedback: great. The repeat: Hopefully next year again at Kampnagel!